The development of the Energetic Intelligences in newborns and infants has been challenged significantly in the past few decades. In fact, the arc of cognitive development overall has likely changed. This is due in large part to the amount of stimulus a child receives. As “toys” get more complicated and complex there is a typical assumption that it will speed the child’s maturation and mental intelligence. The evidence is, in fact, to the contrary.
Dr. Donald Epstein, developer of Reorganizational Healing has often recommended delaying overt mental stimulus and cognitive learning in children as long as possible. Initiating mental learning too early in a child limits the amount of time the Emotional Energetic Intelligence has primacy in the natural maturation. Stunted emotional development has obvious impacts in the child’s life and we are seeing disorders such as Autism and ADHD dramatically increasing.
One of the ways in which children are stimulated in the last few decades are with electronic toys with digital sounds, lights and sensations. These enhanced sensations have a higher demand on the brain and require the development of the mental faculties.
Some research has assumed the delay in language was because the child is utilizing different regions of the brain to experience this toy. This is only partially correct.
“Electronic toys that make noises or light up are extremely effective at commanding children’s attention by activating their orienting reflex. This primitive reflex compels the mind to focus on novel visual or auditory stimuli”. The brain is firing in a unique manner while the child plays with an electronic toy but another study gives a deeper look into what may be occurring.
In a 2015 paper in JAMA, Sosa shares research in which parents and children are given 1 of 3 types of toys. The first was an electronic toy with lights and sounds. The second is a basic, non-electronic toy. The third was a set of children’s books.
What was discovered was that the parents engaged in most verbal activity with the books, less with the rudimentary toy and the least with the electronic toy. The electronic toys created more “entertainment” value and reduced the amount of actual interaction the parents had.
When a parent reads a book to a child, that child typically gets an integrated experience. They get physical tactile sensation (typically in the parent’s lap), they receive emotional connection from the parents reading of the book and they are able to experience language. This integrated experience allows for the most healthy development. Without hearing the parents voice language development slowed and if there is only mental stimulus emotional / mental imbalances are a concern.
As the societal pace increases and the perceived demand for “smart children” also increases it is critical to preserve the window of time in which the Emotional Energetic Intelligence is being developed. It is assumed that a more rapid development of the mental intelligences leads to greater intelligence in adolescence and adulthood.
We must remember that childhood development is just that – development. It is not a software that can be installed on demand. It is likely that a child’s greatest chance of success in our modern age is having an Emotional Energetic Intelligence that is fully formed, fully integrated and being experienced.